PSFK: How Knowledge Curators are Harnessing the Power of Community Growth

Digital DUMBO founder, Andrew Zarick discusses why professionals and businesses need an outlet and group of people to tap into to keep current. Read the PSFK write-up here.

Digital DUMBO is one of Brooklyn’s most successful community events platforms; they’re a great resource for anyone looking to identify digital thought leaders in NYC. Their sessions have a mixture of loosely and rigidly structured engagements (e.g. panels, mixers) between NYC’s digital community. We met up with their Founder Andrew Zarick to find out what drives their success and how they’re growth has driven the restructuring of their platform.

Last time we interviewed you was in January 2011. What’s changed in your platform and D.U.M.B.O since then?

Back in January 2011 we were still very much focused on getting the best and brightest digital influencers in a room with one another through our monthly dd:SOCIAL. We were preparing to host our 23rd social gathering and celebrate the 3rd anniversary of Digital DUMBO. At the time our community was around 3,000 members. In the three years since, we’ve grown to nearly 12,000 members. We’re one of the largest digital communities in the United States that organizes events regularly. There are obviously huge conferences that gather annually or bi-annually, but in terms of communities that gather in-person on an on-going basis, we’re one of the largest based on number of members.

We’ve been beneficiaries of the rise of digital as a tool that is changing every industry and the world. The pace of change is only accelerating. Professionals and businesses need an outlet and community to tap into to keep up. For this reason we’ve expanded our initiatives beyond our monthly social gathering (dd:SOCIAL) to include content and conversation (dd:COLLECTIVE), education and skill development (dd:EDUCATE), and a digital meets lifestyle conference (dd:IMPACT).As part of our four year anniversary last week we announced the dd:A-LIST which is a premium membership to Digital DUMBO and includes benefits across all of our initiatives including free and priority access to our social events, discounts to Digital DUMBO events and other industry events, and much more.

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Why we’re crowdfunding for Digital DUMBO

Friends and Family,

As many of you likely know, in January of 2009 I co-founded what at the time was a very small social gathering for professionals that work in digital media and technology in the Dumbo neighborhood of Brooklyn, a 6 block area with over 120 technology companies and start-ups. This event was simply known as “Digital DUMBO Drinks.”

Over the past 4 years our small social gathering has grown into an organization and global community now known as Digital DUMBO. Today we have over 11,000 members with events taking place in Brooklyn, Boston, London, Valencia (Spain), and soon elsewhere. Since our founding, we’ve hosted over 60 events that have brought together more than 20,000 people.

As we’ve grown we’ve come to recognize the larger responsibility that we have as an organization to not only continue bringing together professionals that work at the forefront of digital media and technology, but also the need to create new initiatives that leverage our reach, influence, and relationships for the benefit of everyone.

“Digital” is not a thing that lives in a silo. It’s not an industry. It’s a tool that is changing every industry and the world at a pace that is only accelerating. This is something that needs to be discussed, new skill sets need to be developed, and communities around the world need to engage in a dialogue and innovate together.

Last week we announced a crowdfunding campaign to support two new initiatives, dd:COLLECTIVE & dd:EDUCATE, that add to our initiative set that works to bring together digital thought leaders, improve digital literacy, facilitate knowledge sharing, and provide a platform for shared thought leadership.

Our goal is a lofty one: $50,000. We aren’t asking for your financial help unless you feel so inclined. However, we are asking for your help in sharing our story – whether via word of mouth, email, or sharing on Facebook and Twitter.

Learn More: http://www.indiegogo.com/digitaldumbo/

Thank You,
Andrew Zarick
CEO, Digital DUMBO
andrew@digitaldumbo.com

Dumbo, Brooklyn: A Neighborhood Transformed By Its Vibrant Tech Industry

This is a repost from NYU student Jessica Summer’s blog. Jessica is a graduate student at New York University’s Business and Economic Reporting program. Read the original post here.

Dumbo from Jessica Summers on Vimeo.

On a weekday morning, the usual hustle of the city seems like a land far away in Dumbo, Brooklyn. While walking through the silent streets and passing by locally-designed clothing stores, hand-crafted art shops, vegan eateries, and empty playgrounds, the only noise seems to come from the train overhead, rattling across the Manhattan Bridge. Despite its serene façade, Dumbo is brimming with innovation, stemming from its thriving technology startup industry.

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Repost: Q&A with Andrew Zarick, Founder of StereoGrid, Digital DUMBO, and 100 Best Rap Songs

This is a repost of a Q&A I did for The Phat Startup – a website that “bridges the gap between hip hop and entrepreneurship.” Read the original post here.

They say keep your friends close but enemies closer. Do you feel it’s important to pay attention to what your competition is doing?
In the last few years I think we’re moving from a society of corporate competition and extraction to one built on corporate responsibility and collaboration. The workforce as a whole is changing. Creativity and ideas are more heavily valued than they once were. This is allowing the rise of dynamic and nimble companies and people. Workers are reclaiming their identity and creativity. They are commanding to be free from the constraints of their cubicle and relentless schedules in traditional organizational structures. This is enabling collaboration, the rise of co-working, tremendous innovation, and dynamic workers.

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Introducing dd:BOSTON & dd:LONDON

Ever since we began exploring taking Digital DUMBO to other cities, one of the biggest questions that we’ve received is “So, what are you going to call it?” In case you’re unfamiliar with DUMBO, it stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass – a neighborhood in Brooklyn in between the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges and home to over 100 digital companies.

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CultureTech Speech – Digital DUMBO

Earlier this year I met Mark Nagurski, Digital Champion of an organization called Digital Derry in Derry, Ireland. Mark came to meet with me in Dumbo and I had the opportunity to tell him about how we had gone about growing Digital DUMBO over the past few years. He discussed how Derry and Ireland in general had been on a tear as of late in the digital space and told me about a conference they had in the works called CultureTech. After having just completed our first ever dd:IMPACT conference, an event that explored how digital has disrupted, evolved, and progressed culture, it was a fitting conversation to be having.

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